How can Agriculture become a Game Changer for India?

How can Agriculture become a Game Changer for India?
Columnist: Ram Kaundinya
Source: The Hindu Businessline


There is a notion among many intellectuals that an agrarian economy—an economy based on Agriculture, like India, is bound to remain stagnant. Economic growth is directly attributed to industrialisation waves bringing innovation in technology, financial systems, logistics and communication. On the other hand, agriculture suffers from unpredictable factors such as yield stagnation, climate change, depletion of natural resources etc. which can result into unprofitable farming.

However, agriculture is the bedrock of civilisation. There is an urgent need to make agriculture more profitable for farmers, along with increasing yield through research and technology focused on the Indian climate, topography etc.

Government should have ambitious agendas backed by substantial investments in research, infrastructure and technology to transform agriculture in India. Here are a few ways through which the government can bring massive positive changes:

  • Formation of National Agriculture Development Council (NADC): to design a national strategy to be implemented everywhere with a tracking mechanism. This council can be a multi-member body consisting of Ministries of Agriculture (both Center and State), NITI Aayog, Political Parties, Researchers, Farmer Bodies, Industries, Academicians, Economics etc.
  • Increasing Investment in Research: Budget for R&D should increase up to 1% of agriculture GDP. High priority research projects aimed at improving crop quality and yield should be green-lit. A policy framework to protect IP of research-based seed companies and provide for them facilities for their protection.
  • Latest Technology: to enhance seeds, protect crops, give crops’ proper nutrition and find more applications such as biological products for different crops. This will increase the yield of the crops along with reducing environmental impacts.
  • Rethinking & Reinventing existing subsidies: promoting subsidies for following sustainable practices such as crop diversification based on agro-ecological zones, water and soil conservation programmes, and cultivating climate resilient crop varieties. Introducing Carbon/Green credit system directly on digital platforms for farmers to benefit from such subsidies.
  • Direct Benefit Transfer & Optimisation for Market: To ensure that maximum profits are earned, farmers should be encouraged to produce crops based on market demand. Incentivisation of resource conservation like growing less water intensive crops through Direct Benefit Transfer.
  • Making Indian Farmers Global Players: Utilising latest technology to reduce cost and increase quality of products to make Indian farmers competitive in the global market. Using private funding to develop better value chains and cultivate export quality crops.
  • Develop better Infrastructure: First step is to stop Free Power and water programme to reach the target of 3 times more budget for building better infrastructure—like drip irrigation, sprinklers and hose reel system of irrigation.
  • Liberalisation of market: A regulated liberalized market increases access to better prices and technologies enabling farmers to sell directly to private companies bypassing intermediaries and improving profitability for farmers.
  • Strengthening Farmer Producer Organizations: FPOs provide tailored training, improve access to markets, and ensure financial support for farmers. Stronger FPOs would mean Stronger Farmers.
  • Development of Digital Infrastructure: By enabling financial services like credit and insurance for farmers through digital means, government can oversee and manage agricultural output, farmer’s profitability, control inflation and minimize post-harvest losses.

A comprehensive national agriculture strategy, spearheaded by a multi-member NADC, aims to boost budget allocation, enhance research, deploy advanced technologies, and promote sustainable practices. This will increase yields, improve market access, and mitigate environmental impacts through efficient resource use and digital solutions.


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